What is the Zoning Ordinance and What is an Amendment?
In order for cities to develop in an orderly fashion, city governments will use future growth maps, zoning ordinances, and other planning tools to help stabilize property values, save money through more efficiently planned infrastructure, and ensure that public health, safety, comfort, and general welfare is both promoted and protected. Zoning is the tool by which local government can control urban form by specifying the building use, size, and placement.
The Zoning Ordinance is Chapter 37 of the City of Champaign Municipal Code. Its purpose is to implement the policies of the City of Champaign Comprehensive Plan as adopted by the City Council.
Rezoning is an amendment to or a change in the zoning ordinance. Rezonings can generally take two forms: a comprehensive revision or modification of the existing zoning text and map and a change in the map or the zoning designation of a particular parcel or parcels.
A map amendment is what can be accomplished through the use of the Rezoning / Map Amendments Application form. Rezonings, like enactment of the original ordinance, are legislative acts that cannot be delegated to administrative officials. Zoning changes require a public hearing before the Plan Commission and notice to surrounding property owners. Plan Commission will then forward a recommendation to City Council, which will ultimately approve or deny the rezoning request.
Rezoning requests will be evaluated in terms of their consistency with the Comprehensive Plan, the LaSalle Criteria mentioned in the next section, and the policies outlined in Section 37-2 of the Zoning Ordinance.
How do I Apply and What Happens Next?
The Planning Department has an application form which you will need to complete, which is included in this application packet. The application form includes sections on the reason and justification for your rezoning request, which comprise the bulk of the argument for your request. This section should be explained in as much detail as possible in order to help City Staff with the application’s review. City Staff will use this information to respond to a set of statements called the La Salle Criteria, established in an Illinois Supreme Court case, in order to form their judgment of the application. These criteria examine the existing uses and zoning of nearby properties; the extent to which property values are diminished by the particular zoning restriction; the extent to which destruction of the property value of the applicant promotes the health, safety, morals, and general welfare of the public; the relative gain to the public as compared to the hardship imposed upon the individual property owner; the suitability of the subject property for the zoned purpose; the length of time the property has been vacant as zoned considered in the context of land developed in the area in the vicinity of the subject property; the care which a community has undertaken to plan its land use development; and the community need for the use proposed by the applicant. It is often helpful to meet with City staff prior to the submission of the application or to schedule an appointment to review your application when it is formally submitted. Staff cannot supply you with legal advice, nor is it required, but you are welcome to bring your attorney, architect, builder, or anyone else you believe will be helpful to any meetings.
Upon receiving a complete application package, Planning Department Staff will schedule a public hearing at the next available meeting of the Plan Commission. The Plan Commission is regularly scheduled to meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month, and state law requires that a legal notice of the public hearing be published in the newspaper 15 days before any hearing.
Staff will send a notice of the proposed rezoning action by mail to all surrounding property owners within 250 feet of the subject property. Staff will also create a legal notice for publication; however the applicant will be billed directly by the News-Gazette for advertisement of the public hearing.
Additionally, a sign(s) must be legally placed on the subject property. By submitting the application, you are legally authorizing staff to place a sign or signs (as required) on the property.